Writing Prompts of the Week – 9

1. Many people feel reading fiction is a waste of time. Write about your position on this, giving reasons to support your argument.

2. Write about a memorable experience you have had while traveling.

3. Write from the point of view of a child as he/she perceives the world around him/her.

4. Write an essay, story, or poem making use of the following words – shopping, interest, someone, understand, and rumor.

5. Write about the first thing that comes to your mind on seeing this picture –




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Why We Procrastinate

When I was last writing on procrastination, I realized that it was such a wide topic that it was not possible to cover everything in one post.  It was then that I had decided that I’d do few – each covering a different aspect. Today we’ll look at why writers procrastinate. I did a little research of my own and this is what I came up with:

1. There are days when we just don’t feel like writing. This was the main reason given for procrastination. According to these writers – You can’t force yourself to write. If there are times when you don’t feel like writing, it is best to leave it for later. Forcing yourself will never produce good results; it may even lead to frustration, which is even worse. These writers go on to say that in such cases, whenever they have left writing for later, the results have always been good. It’s as if their creativity rejuvenates during the resting period. (This reminds me of the comment by Mary Maddux to my previous post. She had said this exact same thing.)

2.  We don’t know enough on the topic. Some writers say that they procrastinate when they feel they don’t know enough on the topic. Leaving things for later gives them time to think, to check/recheck the material they have collected, or even to further research the topic. This happens mainly with writers who are perfectionists.

3. We don’t like what we write. Quite a few writers say that they put their writing off for later when they feel the quality of what they are producing is not good enough. They feel they can write much better than what they are writing now. This again is a sign of perfectionism – wanting their writing to be perfect.

4. We have other things on our mind. According to other writers, they leave their writing when they go through bad phases. That is, when they are under stress or tension due to some personal or work-related reason. They say it’s just not possible for them to write anything when they have so many other things on their minds. If they force themselves to, the results are not good. So, it’s best to leave the writing for the time when they are feeling better and their minds have cleared.

5. We’re too busy. A few writers procrastinate when they are busy with other things – personal or otherwise. They say that sometimes they just do not have the time and so have no choice but to leave the writing for later.

Do you procrastinate? Or does a writer that you know does? What is your, or his/her, reason for putting things off for later?

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New Year Quotes

Hello, Friends.  Hope the festive season is keeping you healthy and happy. Here things have been extremely busy. I’ve hardly had time to post anything. But I promise to make up for all the lost time as soon as the new year begins … uh, is that a new year resolution? Well, sort of.

Talking of new year, here are some interesting quotes on the new year:

*  Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~ Benjamin Franklin

*  New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.  ~ Charles Lamb

*  Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty.  ~ John Selden

*  Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.           ~  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

*  New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  ~ Mark Twain

*  For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make beginning.                   ~ T.S. Eliot

*  Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.  ~ Oscar Wilde

*  One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this:  To rise above the little things.  ~ John Burroughs

*  May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.  ~ Joey Adams

*  A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.                                ~ Edgar Guest

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Looking for Writing Inspiration?

“Where do you get inspiration from?” This is a question almost all writers get asked some time or the other. And why not? Inspiration is an integral part of writing. All writers – no matter how good – need some kind of inspiration to keep them going. They may need it some of the time, or all of the times. “Some of the time” because quite often ideas come on their own or unexpectedly from the most unlikely places, and “all of the times” because sometimes no matter how hard they try, they just cannot think of anything. The mind goes completely blank.

So, what does one do when the mind goes blank? Where do writers get inspiration from? Well, different writers have different sources. If you’re wondering, or are looking for sources of inspiration yourself, here are some of the most common that writers go for:

1. Reading. Reading anything – books, magazines, newspapers, even milk cartons and cereal boxes. There’s so much variety in reading material that it almost always gives you food for thought, which in turn gives you ideas – sometimes new, sometimes the same with a different angle. As you continue to read, one idea leads to another and you’re full of ideas.

2. Talking. Talking to people – family, friends, colleagues, anyone – leads to ideas. Sometimes ideas pop up on their own during a conversation, at other times you can ask them to give you ideas. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get out of this, you’ll even wonder – why didn’t I think of that? Remember the saying ‘two heads are better than one’?

3. Surfing the web. Go to any site, follow random links – links that you don’t usually go to. Going over something completely different gives you completely new ideas. Go to various blogs and forums and see what people are discussing. Pick up the latest trends and give them new twists.

4. Going out. Go out, anywhere that you don’t usually go to – museums, shopping malls, parks, or just take a walk down the road. Look around and observe the new environment, the people walking by, the sounds, sights, everything. You’ll be amazed at how many ideas you can come up with.

5. Letting your mind wander. Sometimes having too much on your mind prevents new ideas from coming in. So let yourself go. Listen to some soft music, go for long leisurely drives alone, or to a quiet corner in a park – anywhere where you can let your mind wander in peace. Just stop thinking of the routine things and go for the random and unusual, and see how many new ideas you can come up with.

Like Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Where do you get your writing inspiration from? Anything different from the ones above? We’d love to hear from you.

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Author Interviews

I like this site and thought I’d share it with you. It’s more for those of you who love reading books and like to know more about the people behind them – that is, the authors of the books.

Here you’ll find a whole collection of author interviews. You can learn a lot from what these writers have to say.

Here is the site –    AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

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A Trait or a Coincidence?

I noticed something interesting. I don’t know whether it’s just a coincidence, or has something to do with nationality. On my website I have a section on Research Papers where scholars post their papers for sale. Till a few years ago, there were quite a few buyers, but now – for two and a half years to be precise – there hasn’t been a single request for a paper. So, after a lot of thought, we decided to do away with the section altogether.  Since the scholars are also involved, we thought it only fair to ask them for their views. All of them said that if there weren’t any buyers, there was no point in having them up on the site, and it was best that we remove them. There were just two who had a different answer – they said that their research was for the good of society at large and that we could leave them up on the site. The best part was – and a very generous one at that – these two persons did not want any money. They said to leave them up and to give them for free to anyone who wanted them. Now we all know how much time and effort goes into writing research papers, and here were two persons who were willing to offer them for free because their belief is that knowledge should be imparted for free so it could benefit all. And you know what the interesting part is? Both these scholars are Indians; the others are of various other nationalities.

What I was thinking – does this desire to offer knowledge for free an Indian trait? Or is it just a coincidence? What do you think? I’d really like some views on this.

 

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The Whys of Freelance Writers Today

So much is being written about the sad state of freelance writers today. Be it a writer’s blog or a social networking site, and it’s there. Each has its own approach and the visitors’ comments are also varied – but the gist is the same. Two points are always there, and these set me thinking:

1. Clients pay freelance writers ridiculously low rates, often as low as $ 1 per article. And there are writers who actually write at these rates … even when this measly amount is withheld with some excuse or the other. On a blog someone also wrote, “clients use underhand ways to keep writers at their beck and call”. 

My question here is – who is responsible for this state of affairs? If you ask me, it’s the writers themselves. People are paying this amount because writers are willing to write for this amount. Set your price and refuse to go for less. No one is going to force you to write for $ 1 an article if you don’t want to. People need things written, more now than ever before… because of the wide use of the internet and need for fresh content every day. If they can get writers who are willing to write for less, then why should they pay more? But if writers refuse to go below their rates, people will be forced to hire at higher rates.

There’s another point I’d like to make here – you are paid what you are worth. I strongly believe that if your work is really good, then there’s no way that you won’t be paid what you’re worth. So, instead of complaining, freelance writers should be concentrating on the quality of their work and set their own price.

2. Much of the blame is being placed on “Asian writers” or “some guy in India who doesn’t know how to string words together”.

Ok, suppose for one moment that it is “these guys” who are responsible for the low rates. But are they forcing other writers to lower their rates as well? If they can’t “string words together”, or as someone else put it, “don’t even know what correct grammar or idiom is”, then why are they being hired? Again suppose that their English is not good enough, then isn’t the $ 1 dollar their worth? You go out and show what stringing of words or correct grammar is, and you’ll be paid your worth. Why complain?

As for the issue of “native speakers” and “non-native speakers”, to me it makes no sense. Command over a language has nothing to do with nationality. There are many non-speakers whose English is much better than those of “natives”

My belief is that it’s not right to blame anyone for anything. It’s an open market. Anyone can go out there and sell their services. Just like in any other kind of market, there are all sorts of sellers and all kinds of buyers. If you want your services to be sold at a good price – produce good services and show the world what you can do. Once buyers see what you have to offer, there’s no way you won’t be paid what you’re worth.

 

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